Penultimate Drama at Winton Nationals

The penultimate round of the Shannons Nationals lived up to all expectations as series winners were crowned and championships heated up in a dramatic weekend at Winton Motor Raceway.

In the Australian GT Trophy’s final round of the 2018 season, it was Scott Taylor in his first Trophy appearance this year who came away with the round win, while Nick Kelly scored enough points to win the outright series.

Behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 R instead of his Mercedes used for the CAMS Australian GT Championship, Taylor’s first race win was good enough to secure the round.

“We had a ball. It was great to come away with the win,” Taylor said.

“It was a good opportunity to get some practice in ahead of the Hampton Downs round, as well as get some experience racing endurance and against some guys we have not raced against.”

The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge had another dramatic ending in the final race as Cooper Murray regained his overall lead after losing it temporarily to Simon Fallon.

Fallon drew first blood in race one to move into top spot, before a brilliant second day from Murray saw him claim both races and recapture his position on the standings.

“On Saturday, we didn’t get the start we wanted but got second and then claimed the Jim Richard Endurance championship,” Murray said.

“But to come away with two firsts on Sunday and get the championship lead back going into to Sydney is great.

“I am feeling pretty good, I have a good car to be up the front and hopefully we can get the championship.”

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A hectic double round resulted in two different winners in the CAMS PAYCE Australian F4 Championship, with AGI sports Ryan Suhle claiming round four and Jayden Ojeda picking up round five.

Suhle’s round win on Saturday was his first ever-conclusive round victory in the championship after claiming a tied win last year.

“Last year we had a bit of consistent success but I never really got that number one trophy. It’s good to finally cap off the collection because that’s what we were really missing from F4,” Suhle said.

The championship leader, Ojeda, was able to recover on Sunday following a day to forget on Saturday when he was forced to retire, however his two race wins put him back on track.

“Getting the round win and two wins on the Sunday has topped off what started as a not so great weekend – but now it’s turned into a great weekend for us,” Ojeda said.

“I’m in good spirits for AGI Sport going into Sydney Motorsport Park in a couple of weeks. It’s one of the best tracks, I really like it.”

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Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer have continued their charge up the Australian Production Cars Series table after claiming their first round win of the season.

Despite facing problems throughout the weekend, the Lotus pilots managed to win the two races and make it three consecutive race wins in the series.

“It was really cool,” Denyer said.

“We knew that Winton being a small and tight circuit would suit the Lotus even though there was some really close racing for us with other cars.

“The weekend was really good and to do the whole second race on my own and win by a lap was atonishing. i had put my heart and soul into it.”

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The final category of the day was the Porsche 944 Challenge and their special invitational Dennis O’Keefe Cup, which series leader Cameron Beller won.

A win in the first race and a runners-up in the second sealed the round victory for Beller who faced pressure from category great Chris Lewis-Williams all weekend.

“It feels pretty good to win,” Beller said.

“I would have like to win the last race as well but I was held back and unfortunately couldn’t make it.

“It was a great weekend and very enjoyable and coming home with a win is a real bonus. I am really happy.”

The final Shannons Nationals for 2018 takes place at Sydney Motorsport Park on 21 – 23 September with five categories to feature.

Click here for more information on the final round.